Filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri tendered an unconditional apology before the Delhi High Court for remarks he made against Justice S Muralidhar over a 2018 order granting relief to activist Gautam Navlakha and setting aside the Pune Police's transit remand.
The court however directed Agnihotri to appear before them and tender his apology in person. "We are asking him to remain present because he is the contemnor. Does he have any difficulty if he must express remorse in person? Remorse cannot always be expressed by way of an affidavit," the division bench comprising Justices Siddharth Mridul and Talwant Singh said.
The high court has directed Agnihotri to appear in person on March 16, 2023, when the matter will be heard next.
Justice Muralidhar was a sitting judge at Delhi High Court, currently, he is the Chief Justice at Orissa High Court.
Agnihotri on Tuesday filed an affidavit tendering his apology after the high court on September 19 decided to proceed ex-parte against him and others in the suo motu contempt case. The court was prompted to pass its September order since all those accused of contempt remained unrepresented in this four-year-old case.
In his affidavit, Agnihotri claimed he had deleted the offending tweets, however, amicus curiae senior advocate Aravind Nigam told the court that it was possible the tweets in question were deleted by Twitter and not the filmmaker.
In 2018, The Kashmir Files director had alleged bias and accused the judge of freeing Navlakha on house arrest because he was apparently friends with Justice Muralidhar's wife. Shortly after, the high court initiated suo motu contempt proceedings against Agnihotri along with Anant Ranganathan, the magazine Swarajya and others.
In October 2019, Delhi High Court dropped the charges against RSS ideologue S Gurumurthy after he tendered his unconditional apology.
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